The relationship between an artist and gallery is a significant one. The Rickie Report hears from both entities, sharing concerns and questions about behavior and standards. We look at the nuances that may not be spelled out in a contract and more in this article. This includes 2D , 3D and wearable art.
The Artist/Gallery Relationship
In this article, when we speak of “galleries”, the reader should understand the term to include consignment galleries, vanity galleries, cooperative galleries and traditional galleries. This also includes outdoor or indoor shows…basically, any place you are exhibiting your artistry.
Notification of Your Acceptance
Your artwork has been accepted to be in an exhibit or show!
Read every word and every page before you sign a contract!
- Do you understand the contract?
- If you have a question, has the issuer of the contract been helpful in explaining your concerns?
- Can you meet the requirements of the contract?
- Is there something you would like to change in the contract?
- Is this acceptable to the issuer?
- If you cannot meet the requirements, it is your obligation to discuss the issues with the gallery or show where your work will be exhibited!
- Mark down important dates: drop off of artwork, reception and pick up of unsold work and date of expected payment for sold work.
- If you decide NOT to sign the contract, it is up to you to inform the gallery or show manager! Being polite and considerate goes a long way…you never know when you may encounter the same players in the art world again.
I’ve Signed A Contract!
What is the first thing you need to do?
- Employ “Rickie’s Two Foot Rule”! Share your good news with anyone who comes within 2 feet of you! This is NOT a time to “sell” but to “celebrate”! Share your passion of creativity with everyone!
- Get your publicity and marketing ducks in a row! Send out press releases to print and email resources ( including The Rickie Report) – DO NOT WAIT until a few weeks before your public reception, grand opening or event to take place.
- Share your good news in your social media circles and once you have the date (see above), ask THEM to share it with their friends!
- Has the gallery provided postcards marketing the exhibit or show?
- Send them out to your client list, giving them plenty of notice so they can attend! This is an important part of the marketing process. The gallery is counting on you to follow through!
- Another thought about sending out postcards: a personal note goes a long way. Again, it is about the relationship between you and your clients. It is not just about the sale!
Enjoy The Show
Before the exhibit or show opens, touch base with the manager. What are the gallery’s expectations of the artists during the event?
- Show up on time!
- What is the preferred mode of dress?
- Can you bring a guest?
- Is there a cover charge for guests and other attendees?
- Be respectful of the other attendees. Not everyone is here to see your work. ( We know, this sounds harsh, but we’re trying to be realistic and helpful).
- Are you expected to make a presentation about your work? How long will you speak? When will this take place within the reception time frame?
- Is it OK to hand out business cards?
- Can you have your own sign-in book?
- If you are supposed to bring a beverage or snack to share, check to see what the gallery prefers ( if they always provide a cheese tray, perhaps choosing a different pick-up refreshment is best; have they requested wine or only soft-drinks?)
- How long are you expected to stay?
- Different types of galleries call for you knowing information beyond your own work. Have you done your homework and learned a bit about the other exhibitors’ artistry?
- If someone asks a question and you are unsure of the answer, KNOW who to ask!
- Do we need to tell you? NEVER speak poorly of another piece of artwork! Everyone has different taste in food, fashion and artwork!
The Party’s Over And So Is The Exhibit
- Be prompt when picking up your artwork.
- Bring a copy of your list of work dropped off with prices.
- If you have a problem in picking up your work at the specified time, contact the gallery manager immediately.
- Send a thank you note to the gallery and manager. Personal relationship, remember?
My Work Sold! Now What?
- The contract should specify when you will be paid and how much the gallery will keep as commission.
- Be aware of the date you should expect payment and stay in touch with the gallery manager.
- Some galleries cut checks immediately and others only monthly.
- Does the contract specify if the gallery will tell you who the customer is?
- When a non-profit organization asks you for a donation of your artwork, does the contract specify that you will be told who the client is who purchased your work? The Rickie Report suggests you inquire about this BEFORE signing the contract and possibly adding it in, if it is not mentioned. It is gracious of you to donate and important for YOUR marketing and art business to know who to add to your client list.
In the very least, the exhibition or show should be added immediately to your website.
You forgot to pick up your work
for over a month… Now what?
- Go back and read the contract.
- Some galleries will charge storage fees. Be prepared to pay. Remember – they have been caretakers of your work.
- Some galleries will take possession of your work. They may choose to be benevolent and return your work or they may, according to the contract, sell your work to benefit a charity.
Life Is A Learning Experience
Exhibiting at a gallery or show is a wonderful opportunity for you to share your creativity with the world! The Rickie Report hopes that these helpful hints make your experiences easier and more productive.
Stay tuned for more marketing strategies in The Rickie Report!
For coverage of your events, to place an advertisement, or speak to Rickie about appearing in The Rickie Report, contact:
Rickie Leiter, Publisher
The Rickie Report
Palm Beach Gardens, FL 33420